Last November is when my Insomnia first began. I don’t know how it started or what caused it. But I would have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. Sometimes I’d eventually fall asleep, sleep for 15-45 minutes and then be awake the rest of the night. Some nights I’d lay awake until 4, 5 or 6 in the morning and then would have to get up before 7 to prepare for work. And some nights I just wouldn’t sleep at all. This would occur most often. And usually, it would be two or three nights with no or minimal sleep. I would be a low-functioning zombie at work, then go off to the gym or to fitness class and then home hoping to sleep but never getting there. The insomnia still occurs but it’s not as frequent. THANK GOODNESS.
This may or may not have been the beginning of a small (but very frustrating for me) weight incline. Even tho I was working my butt off, even increasing my exercise, I have gained an itsy amount of weight (but itsy is sometimes enough to make one want to bang her head off a wall – amiright or amiright??). Why? Because getting enough sleep is dire to a healthy life and weight.
Research has shown that an important factor in losing weight, and keeping it off, is adequate sleep. Your hormones are affected by sleep. The most important one is leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full. The minute you are sleep deprived, your leptin levels go down. Ghrelin is the hormone that says ‘feed me.’ When you’re sleep-deprived, your ghrelin levels go up. “When you consider that the average American sleeps just six hours a night- down from 7 hours a night only 10 years ago, and 9 hours a night at the turn of the century- it’s no wonder American’s are struggling with weight and obesity issues.”
Keys to a good sleep are to reduce stress and avoid overeating. A good night’s rest can help keep hormone levels stable and eliminate behaviors that follow sleep-deprivation. Lack of sleep can cause the body to create cortisol, a hormone often linked with stress (cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up the motivation to eat). Our brains may actually signal us to look for high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” after a stressful, sleep-deprived day. It’s also important to note that people who are sleep deprived usually consume more calories in the day – especially in the evening.
It’s important to make sure that the quality of your nightly sleep is deep and gives you the rest your body needs. The following may help you get a good night’s rest:
Unwind before bedtime with a warm bath or shower, yoga stretches, light reading, meditation and/or listening to quiet music.
Stay away from caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and limit your alcohol consumption to one drink at least a few hours before bedtime. (Caffeine is a 12 hour drug so be aware that if you’re consuming caffeine after noon you might be awake and alert well into the night.)
Exercise, but not right before bedtime.
Don’t take naps.
Go to bed when you’re tired, but get up at the same time every day whether you’ve had a good amount of sleep or not.
If you have trouble staying asleep at night, keep clocks where you can’t see them. This may help you avoid feeling stressed about the amount of time during which you’ve been unable to fall back asleep.
When your body feels rested and you are getting the sleep you need, your hormones will work in balance and support your overall weight loss program.
I wish you all a peaceful sleep.